Hurricane season is approaching! Wait, isn't a third of the U.S. drying out right now?
Most of us feel true sympathy for the communities of victims who did nothing to deserve such loss, and those appropriate emotions make us more vulnerable to disaster related scams. Following every disaster, malicious campaigns emerge to defraud those desiring to help the victims and communities, but the real loss is from the disaster victims who will never see a penny of those diverted donations.
Scammers will call, robocall, email and even knock on doors begging for financial assistance for those less fortunate. With sophistication they've gained from years of studying and impersonating legitimate campaigns, it can be difficult to tell the good from the bad.
Disaster Scam Tips
- It is illegal to excessively raise prices because of a disaster or severe weather FEMA.gov.
- Verify a charity on BBB's Wise Giving Alliance and IRS's Tax Exempt Organization Search.
- FEMA imposters may request access to home, money, or personal info. Always request to see FEMA issued photo ID badge.
- Do not pay up front for anything without verifying with supplying organization. Federal employees will never ask for or accept money.
- Do not give Social Security number or banking information to any contractor or federal employee, and FEMA will only require these when a person signs up for assistance.
- You will never be charged by FEMA employees for inspections or assistance.
- Verify a contractor's references and insist on written estimates, along with evidence of liability and worker's comp insurance.
- When you donate or pay for assistance, don't use cash, and get a receipt on their letterhead.
- Hang up on any robocalls about flood insurance. Policyholders can call 800-638-6620 (National Flood Insurance Program).
- Posts to social media can be verified with a call to the charity, using phone number obtained outside post.
- Review FEMA's Emergency Financial First Aid Kit.
Resources to help prepare for and respond to disasters
- HOPE Coalition America with FEMA --> (888) 388-4673
- Help filling out Financial First Aid Kit --> https://www.operationhope.org
- Preparation: https://www.ready.gov
- Assistance: https://www.disasterassistance.gov/
For a confidential discussion of your situation, followed by recommendations based on industry best practices, give your Technology Partner a call.
The LeeShanok Team